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115th Penn Relays

Thu.-Sat., April 23-25, 2009

Franklin Field, Philadelphia PA

West Windsor Plainsboro leads a 2-3-4-5-6-7-8 place showing by Metro teams in the DMR

PHILADELPHIA - Jim Rosa was trying to hang onto the lead and a fast-closing Robby Andrews was mounting a huge charge from the back of the pack as yesterday’s distance medley relay Championship of America provided plenty of drama as the race neared the finish line.

Rosa, West Windsor-Plainsboro North’s talented sophomore, was pushing and pushing, trying to find that extra burst to carry him across first. But as hard as he tried, Rosa just couldn’t keep senior Mike Palmisano of Upper Dublin, Pa. from getting by him.

Palmisano, who split 4:14.6, passsed Rosa with about 150 meters left as Upper Dublin rallied to capture the title in 10:08.48 in front of 39,501 fans at the 115th Penn Relays. West Windsor North NJ wound up second in 10:11.28.

It’s the third straight DM title for a Pa. team.

Meanwhile, Andrews, who got the baton in 15th place and 13.4 seconds behind the leader Rosa, got the crowd on its feet when he started mowing down teams on the final backstrecth as he blazed his way around the Franklin Field oval with a 1,600 split of 4:06.2 to bring Manalapan NJ  across third in 10:12.78. Don Bosco Prep NJ was fourth in 10:15.21, Danbury CT fifth in 10:15.57, Burnt Hills NY sixth in 10:18.99, Ridgewood eighth in 10:23.25, Northport NY 10th in 10:25.75 and Arlington NY 11th in 10:26.22, Christian Brothers Academy  NJ  13th in 10:30.26, Colts Neck NJ 14th in 10:30.27, Haddonfield NJ 15th in 10:30.80.

Andrews’ split is No. 9 all-time in Penn Relays history.

After a 2:04.5 first 800, Andrews ran a 2:01.7 final 800, including a stunning 56.4 final 400.

``When I was waiting for the baton I started counting Mississippis and when I got to 14 I was like, `that’s a lot,’ said Andrews, referring to the Rosa lead. ``I think I relaxed a little too much in the middle 800, but I picked it back up and just started going after as many as I could on that last quarter’’

Andrews, who won the 800 at the National Scholastic Indoor Championship in New York last month in a national record 1:49.21 and ran a national indoor record of 2:22.82 for 1,000 this past winter, said he was just hoping to go under 4:10.

`` I came here looking to run my fastest time and help our team get a medal,’’ said the Virginia-bound Andrews. ``And both things happened, so I am very happy with the things went, although I would have liked to have been a little closer to Craig.’’

Andrews was referring to Craig Forys, who split 4:04.2 for Colts Neck’s DM runner-up team in 2007.

Andrews said it’s an honor to be on the All-Time Top 10 split list.

``There are some great runners on that list, like Alan Webb and Craig, so it means a lot to me to be on there,’’ said Andrews, who will run a 1-K at the Puma Street Meet in Boston tomorrow.

Andrews had to make decision to between running the DM and the mile.

``My teammates are always up in the stands cheering for me, so I felt like they derserved to me on the track with me and share in some sucees. And they ran great today. I’m proud of what they did.’’

West Windsor North, seeking to become the first New Jersey team to capture the boys distance medley at Penn since Westfield in 1995, was in control of the race most of way.

Joe Rosa, Jim’s twin, ran 3:07.4 for 1,200, Sean Reed 50.6 for 400 and Tyler Corkedale 1:55.2 to give Jim Rosa a two second edge on Upper Dublin. Jim Rosa anchored in 4:18.1.

``We were capable of going faster, but we didn’t do it today,’’ said Joe Rosa, whose team was the favorite top seed basedran 10:1s . ``Plain and simply, they (Upper Dublin) were the better team and deserved to win. It’s dissappointing because we felt we could have won, but w lost as team. Our first three legs could have all run faster and given Jim a bigger cushion, but we didn’t do it.’’